Turkeys should be eaten, not dispensing health advice

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Continuing the long but not so honorable tradition of slinging anti-chemical accusations against safe consumer products, the Breast Cancer Fund, a group that targets environmental factors they claim are related to breast cancer, has reported that a variety of canned Thanksgiving foods contain concerning levels of bisphenol-A (BPA).

Just in time to scare consumers before the holidays, the Breast Cancer Fund has tested canned gravy, green beans, pumpkin, cranberry sauce, and sweet corn for the presence of BPA, a chemical used in the linings of cans to protect food from contamination. They found that almost half of the products they tested contained BPA levels that were equivalent to levels linked to adverse health effects in lab animals.

In an attempt to provide a scientific basis for the claim, Dr. William Goodson, a breast cancer surgeon at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute who has published on BPA, reports, We know from recent research that a BPA meal creates a spike of this estrogenic chemical in the blood. But as ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross points out, the estrogenic activity of BPA is a tiny fraction of that of the naturally occurring estrogens in the body in both genders. Dr. Goodson s argument, he says, might sound scientific to the public, but he ignores the fact that we are talking about a minuscule dose that would have no such effect.

The Breast Cancer Fund is continuing a holiday tradition that began with a similar chemical scare campaign around Thanksgiving in 1959 the notorious cranberry scare that frightened schools, restaurants, and supermarkets into abandoning cranberry products for fear of the berries contamination by a common herbicide. This scare, too, was found to be unfounded. And on the flip side of this Thanksgiving tradition, ACSH's holiday dinner menu points out the hypocrisy of banning synthetic chemicals while ignoring the same toxins and carcinogens where they are naturally present. This ACSH classic illustrates how so many of these demonized compounds are naturally present in foods that none of these activists would ever consider advocating against, from turkey to broccoli to sweet potato.